September 8, 2017

I really don't know how to start this blog. I can't even remember when was the last time I blogged about my personal life rather than just posting essays. It's 4:17 pm here in Canada, and all my friends and family back in Indonesia are probably still sleeping now. And guess what? I have so very few friends here that I'm not gonna expect my phone to ring at any moment now.

Ah why am I in Canada again? Some of you may have no clue why. So here's why.

I came here exactly 2 weeks ago, with 3 large suitcases, hoping to make better life by taking the chance of continuing my study in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Earth (still not on Mars, unfortunately). My fabulous university is called Simon Fraser University and my awesome pick of a major is called Publishing (with my soon to be graduate degree : MPub).

I'm sure a lot of you will ask these following questions in your mind :
1. Why so far away? Doesn't Singapore have that kind of major in some of their prestigious universities?
2. What's Publishing again? Why chose a major that is completely unrelated to your bachelor's degree?

To answer your question :
1. IT IS FAR. It took me 21 hours to get here! And no, currently there are only 2 universities in the world that offer a sole degree in Publishing (not in Communication, English or Journalism), which are my university and New York University. And of course, I chose NYU first, but you know how expensive their tuition fee is. Not to mention, it is in Midtown Manhattan, so do the living cost math! 
2. It is the kind of activity that produces books, magazines and newspapers. You are dumb enough if you still don't understand. And I chose this major because I DESPISE accounting and I just don't think that I could survive, let alone be a rich gal, if I keep living and working as an accountant. Besides, Publishing is the only field that holds all my bits of talents, from photography, graphic design, writing and editing. And I love books and magazines! 

Okay. Enough with the questions. I've been in Vancouver for 2 weeks now and I can tell you this : I AM SO BORED. I am not gonna lie, there is nothing this city has to offer rather than dining, hiking, skiing and sightseeing. Dining I am fine, but you all know that I'm a city girl who loves to breathe the busy and alive pace, like NYC's. I might be overly subjective here, because most people say that Vancouver is one of the best and most beautiful city they have ever visited/lived in, but not to me. In addition, everything here is godamn expensive, from foods, rent, even probably the air we breathe in! I've been to malls, restaurants, parks, beaches, night markets, but STILL BORED. That's one particular reason why I'm blogging right now, because I AM SO BORED, even though I have 2 reading assignments coming up, but yeah, I AM BORED.

But your classes have started, why are you still bored?

Well yeah, probably I'll get busy later on, but so far, nothing that I couldn't handle. The assignments seem fun and challenging (though sometimes can be overwhelming, even to my standard), the instructors seem awesome, the campus is nice, the classmates are OK, but living here in the past weeks has taught me several things :
1. I have taken my car, my maids and Indonesia's low prices for granted. I have to walk nearly a kilometer everyday to get to the station and still have to take trains to get to Downtown, I have to do my own laundry (which is fucking complicated for a spoiled bastard like me whose clothes are hand washed by my lovely maids) and cleanings, I have to buy groceries (which is super challenging because I don't have a car) and cook if I don't wanna die young, and mostly, I have to be stingy about everything, especially foods, because everything here is (again) ridiculously expensive. 
2. I drove waaaayyy too fast back in Indonesia. Their speed limit is 60 km/h. CRAZY!
3. Pedestrians are king. Even when a car is close approaching you, it has to stop and let the pedestrians cross over first. Which won't be dangerous considering they are going below 60 and it's not that crowded here. But if it were to happen in Indonesia, then sudden brake, another car hits you from the back. Or you run over the pedestrians. (IMO, it makes much more sense to me if the pedestrians are the ones stopping first, because we could see the road clearer + we have the control of our own body, not a vehicle, RIGHT?)
4. It takes me more than a minute everytime I throw away my garbage. They recycle, so well, they have 4 bins. FOUR.
5.  Bubble Tea (BBT) here is lit.
6. Canadian Banks are sooooo primitive. Some of them limit your transactions, withdrawals, usages and transfers and if you go over your limit, they will charge your for $1++. Why? WHY? And it is sooo hard to find an ATM machine here. And for some reasons, cash are useless here.
7. I can't even begin to describe how expensive internet data can be here. I pay $50 for 8gigs & unlimited talks/texts per month and it is considered to be very cheap because mine is a shitty provider (and in here, if you have no service, you are screwed, like real screwed). If you want a good provider, you'll have to pay around 60 bucks for 3 gigs!
8. Cars here are cheaper than Indonesia (3:4 comparison), but gasoline costs about $1.5/liter, add with insurance (expensive!) and taxes (expensive!). Still pretty much the same with owning a car in Indonesia, but there is the parking fees ... 5 BUCKS FOR 2 HOURS!
9. Having an air conditioner here is considered a privilege, since the AC itself is expensive and the installation can cost you up to FOUR THOUSAND BUCKS per AC!
10. Public transportation is easy, but very limited. Not like Singapore or Japan. They only have 3 lines for trains, and several stops for buses.

At my campus, I also learn few more things :
1. My previous university's facilities is SHIT compared to SFU's. I have my own assigned room with individual PC, free prints, free copier, free coffee, fast wifi!
2. I am probably the youngest and the least experienced among my peers. Also, the most clueless one, especially when they are talking about Canadian politics-economy-publishing thingy, because I've been US-centric all my life.
3. For the first time in my entire life, I feel like I need to read more. How the fck they already read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own?!
4. I am that awkward Asian who is considered very tall for an Asian (STILL! I thought this was gonna change!) and they often say, "How come you are so fair if you are Indonesian?" and "How come your English is so good?". Figure it out by yourself why.

Vancouver oh Vancouver. It's been a journey. A FANTASTIC one. Here's a story for you ...

I flew with Cathay Pacific from Surabaya-Indonesia to Hongkong for 5 hours then layover for another 5 hours which were tiring because I've never been to Hongkong's airport before and I was all by myself, was sick and have to carry heavy handbag and a small suitcase, all because my father was so stingy he didn't want to accompany me. Then I flew with Air Canada (Cathay Pacific was much much better selection I can tell you that) for 11 straight hours to Vancouver. After I arrived in YVR, Vancouver, I had to wait for an hour for my baggage to show up, then waited for roughly 2 hours to get my study permit at the airport. Then, my acquaintances from church picked me up then drove me off to the 'student hotel' that I'd booked earlier. Guess what? The hotel is a scam, fucking scam. It's located in the worst neighborhood in Vancouver, with possibly near a hundred homeless in sight (Vancouver's homeless are not dangerous like NY's but it's a peace of mind not to get near them). So I decided to bail, lost my $250 deposit, and stayed at the hotel. BUT I DIDN'T. There was no hotel available because it was sooo late at night. Fortunately, one of the people from church offered her apartment for me to crash in. A STRANGER'S APARTMENT. But praise the Lord she did. Long story short, all that passed, I found a nice private room in a house, not that expensive (but still not that cheap either), it's near skytrain station (Canada line baby!), quite big, fully renovated and has semi-washroom (or bathroom we call it). Quite an experience Canada has given me.

Oh shit, it's 5:21 now, I need to cook dinner. Good day mate!

- See the irony of this post? This post is sooooo messy that I might need an Editor. And I'm trying to become one! -

(all the currency is in Canadian Dollars : roughly Rp 10.600,-/CAD 1)
(image above is taken with iPhone 7+ at Iona Beach Walkway, Vancouver, BC, Canada with no edit whatsoever)
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